Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Testament Reading for September 4, 2011

Romans 13:8-14 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet"; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.


  1. This scripture seems pointedly relevant to the business and political cultures of America today. It confronts attitudes and behavior and calls us to the priority of love, of genuine concern for others. Oh God, by your indwelling presence guide me to live honorably this day, toward ALL (including politicians I want to despise).

  2. If as Paul wrote, “Love is the fulfilling of the law,” then what is love? Is it the state of intoxication I have felt with a couple of me, the state heralded in Greek tragedies as Paris’ wrote in his letter to Helen of Troy, “"...you were my heart's desire before you were known to me. I beheld your features with my soul (before) I saw them with my eyes…” Enchanted, pierced with the cupid’s deadly arrow.

    The Greeks called this kind of love eros. It is about longing and sexual desire. It’s about finding an object that we believe will satisfy our longing – something or someone to fill the empty place inside us. Eros is a self-serving kind of love. Is eros “love that is the fulfilling of the law?”I don’t think so.

    What about this kind of love? I love my daughter, my friends, I love the people with whom I work, my church, Santa Fe. The Greeks called this kind of love philia. It’s where Philadelphia gets its name – the city of brotherly love. Philia is a mutual kind of love. It’s the kind of love that also extends to our pets. I love my cat Zachariah and I think he’s glad that I’m around too. Philia love also extends to places; I love my home. I love my country. Philia is a fraternal, brotherly or a personal kind of love. Is philia “love that is the fulfilling of the law?” I don’t think so.

    Eros and philia are loves that make us feel good or valued or give us a sense of identity. To a greater of lesser degree they are directed toward satisfying our emotional state. That is to say, eros and philia are self-satisfying loves.

    The kind of love that Paul is talking about is agape love and agape love has everything to do with the person who is the object of our love. When we agape love someone we give them value. Rather than seeing the other person as an object that will satisfy us, we see the other person as an opportunity to give ourself. Agape love is self-giving, rather than self-satisfying, agape love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Now let me be clear. Eros, romantic or intimate love and philia, brotherly or personal love are also gifts from God. Experiencing pleasure, feeling valued and having a sense of identity are different good and Godly things. But they are not the particular quality of Christian love that is the fulfilling of the law.

    We recognize the essence of agape love in Jesus’ saving actions - in his valuing, healing, forgiving, in other words – loving, sinners, outcasts, the unclean; loving people who for whatever social, physical, or religious reason were considered “the least among us.” Still the most dramatic expression of agape love was Jesus’ willingness to lay down his own life for us, his willingness to suffer death because he valued all people. Jesus said, “No greater love has a man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15.13)

    This is unparalleled agape love. It is not an emotional or psychological state. It is a way of life. I believe it is the way life is supposed to be right here on earth in God’s kingdom. Richard Rohr puts it this way, “Love is not something we do. Love is what we are.” Now there is something to ponder.

    As we agape love we are manifesting the reality of God’s kingdom come, the kingdom in which being love means we give ourselves for the good of one another and all of creation. As we agape love we are the fulfilling of the law. We are love.

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  4. and to Dave - Amen brother. As I stretch to agape love thoses whose views or beliefs stand apart from mine I pray to recall to heart that even I as cannot earn or deserve our Lord's love neither dare I demand others earn, deserve or reciprocate mine. Help me Jesus!